Some States Have Alcohol Monitoring Programs to Reduce Drunk Driving

Some states have implemented alcohol monitoring programs aimed at reducing drunk driving and domestic violence, according to the Associated Press. Offenders must prove twice daily that they have not been drinking. Staying sober keeps them out of jail.

South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana have implemented alcohol monitoring programs, and at least five additional states are running or planning pilot programs.

South Dakota began its program in 2005. People accused or convicted of an alcohol-related crime are offered participation in the program as an alternative to jail. Participants come to a testing site every each morning and evening to blow into a Breathalyzer. If they are unable to get to a testing site that frequently, or if they have trouble staying sober between tests, they wear alcohol-monitoring bracelets or have ignition interlock systems installed in their car.

Those who fail the test are immediately jailed. The first offense leads to 12 hours of jail time, while the second offense leaves them in jail for 24 hours. If they fail a third test, they stay in jail until a judge decides the next step.

South Dakota once had the nation’s highest DUI arrest rate, the article notes. Jail overcrowding was a serious problem. A study by the RAND Corporation found that in the first five years, South Dakota’s program reduced the rate of repeat DUI arrests at the county level by 12 percent, and domestic violence offenses by 9 percent.

Because participants pay for the tests (usually between $1 to $3 per test), the cost to states is minimal, the article notes. In the past 10 years, more than 37,000 people in South Dakota have participated in the program. The pass rate has been more than 99 percent.

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    October 1, 2015 at 11:33 AM

    “You drink you go to jail.” This is the 12 Step Drug Court Caliphate in action. And studies show it has no effect on traffic fatalities even if there is a slight improvement in DUI and DV rates. Why? Drunk driving is a crime and should be treated as such. Same for DV. Drinking is NOT a crime and treating it as such just pushes people into other more dangerous drug markets.

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